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Ten Super 1940s Chick Flicks

Updated on January 31, 2017
Mildred Pierce
Mildred Pierce | Source

Great Acting

During the 1940s, actresses such as Joan Crawford, Betty Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Rita Hayworth, and Lizabeth Scott starred in epic box office hits.

The leading female character roles in some of these melodramatic and suspense filled movies called for the actresses to portray coldhearted women. However, the "tearjerker" movies remained a powerful box office force.

What's more, the movie plots were usually centered around deceit, greed, illicit love affairs, long-suffering souls, naiveté, and vulnerability.

Too Late For Tears
Too Late For Tears | Source

As the Second World War raged on in Europe and Asia, Americans flocked to the movie theatres and they continued to do so after the war ended.

Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino | Source

Wonderful Fashions

The movie goers were treated to captivating fashions on the theatre screens. Edith Head, Travis Banton, and Gilbert Adrian were prominent studio costume designers that created a lot of the fabulous clothing during this period.

Also, Orry Kelly was another brilliant costume designer based in Hollywood. The stylish suits, charming dresses, and dazzling evening gowns he designed for Betty Davis in the film, Now, Voyager, were exceptional.

Now, Voyager
Now, Voyager | Source

A simple but chic short-sleeved black suit with white lapels designed by Orry Kelly and accessorized with a flowing barely there veil attached to a brimmed hat announces Charlotte Vale's arrival aboard the cruise ship. As well as her recovery from a mental breakdown in grand style.

Now, Voyager
Now, Voyager | Source

A sparkling evening coat dress with accentuated shoulder pads designed by Orry Kelly communicates power, control, confidence, and wealth.

Gilda | Source

Likewise, this off the shoulder, black satin evening gown designed by Jean Louis for Rita Hayworth in the film, Gilda, oozes glamour and elegance. The gown reflects clean lines and a daring front slit to the thighs accessorized with to-die-for silk platform shoes.

“You Reap What You Sow” Themes

These movies embraced “You Reap What You Sow” themes that resonated across the country. Towards the end of the films, the characters usually gained better insight about themselves and others along with the resolve to carry on. And every so often, the characters received payback for their misdeeds too.


10 Super American Chick Flicks

The following movies are my ten super American Chick Flicks from the 1940s:

1. Too Late for Tears (1949), Lizabeth Scott stars as Jane Palmer an unapologetic housewife intent on spending a cash windfall.

2. The Postman Always Ring Twice (1946), Lana Turner stars as Cora Smith, a callous wife that persuades a drifter to kill her husband.

3. Double Indemnity (1944), Barbara Stanwyck stars as Phyllis Dietrichson, an unfaithful wife that schemes with her lover to murder her husband.

4. Mildred Pierce (1945), Joan Crawford stars as Mildred Pierce, a successful restaurant entrepreneur that tries to win her ungrateful daughter’s affection.

5. The Letter (1940), Betty Davis stars as Leslie Crosbie, a rubber plantation manager’s wife that lies about killing a man in self-defense.

6. Notorious (1946), Ingrid Bergman stars as Alicia Huberman, a reluctant U.S. spy that infiltrates a Nazi organization based in South America.

7. Gilda (1946), Rita Hayworth stars as Gilda Mundson Farrell, the sensuous wife of a casino owner that walks a tightrope between her husband and an old flame.

8. Rebecca (1940), Joan Fontaine stars as Mrs. de Winter, a bride that uncovers the secrets about her husband’s deceased wife.

9. Snake Pit (1948), Olivia de Havilland stars as Virginia Stuart Cunningham, a patient in a mental institution.

10. Now, Voyager (1942), Betty Davis stars as Charlotte Vale, a cowed woman that becomes a sophisticated lady after a nervous breakdown.

Come on and share your favorite Chick Flicks from the 1940s in the comments section below or your thoughts about the listed movies.

Dishonored Lady
Dishonored Lady | Source

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© 2014 Irma Cowthern


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    • ponder profile imageAUTHOR

      Irma Cowthern 

      4 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      4 years ago from West By God

      I have seen some of those. Nice picks.


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